SPOILERS: None, really, not if you're at all familiar with the
events of the past season. But, technically, I guess there are some
SUMMARY: Angel tells Sam she's moving out. (My story summaries
really suck; can you tell?)
WARNING: This is a f/f slash story. It's G-rated, which means
there's no sex or anything like that, but if even the assumption of
a relationship between two women bothers you, then don't read this.
DISCLAIMER: Sam, Angel, and all things Profiler-related belong to
Sander/Moses Productions, Three-Putt Productions, and NBC (not that
they know what to do with them). I am infringing on their copyright
by writing this story, but somehow I just can't bring myself to care
FEEDBACK: Everything from constructive criticism to outright praise
is welcome at email@example.com.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay, so continuity has never been Profiler's
strongest point. Even so, the first few episodes of this past season
left me dissatisfied with many, many things. One of them was the way
Angel has apparently fallen victim to the great Disappearing
Character plague. Her absence has been handled slightly better than
Nathan's or Marcus's (both of whom seemed to be abducted by aliens
over the summer), but still! This story is my explanation for where
"Moving," a post-Coronation story
"What do you think of this?" Sam asked, holding the paper out
to Angel over the cluttered breakfast table. "Four bedrooms, one with
a skylight -- that'd be perfect for your studio, strong natural light --
and it's in Buckhead, but at a price we can afford. Nice neighborhood,
good schools for Chloe...Angel?" She rustled the paper a little, as
if trying to get her friend's attention.
"Sounds nice," Angel replied flatly. She didn't glance up
from her plate, focusing instead on her bagel. She took a determined bite,
hoping to ward off further discussion.
There was a startled silence. "Uh...okay." Out of the corner
of her eye, Angel could see the paper hover uncertainly in the air for a
moment more, then drop to the tabletop at a point almost exactly halfway
between the two of them -- neutral territory. "I just thought...well,
we can talk about it later, I guess."
She swallowed. "Good," she mumbled, then took a sip of orange
juice. It was a tactical error; juice slid too easily down the throat,
leaving room for words. So when Sam said, "What's the matter; you
don't like Buckhead? Too snobby?", Angel found herself snarling
"I like Buckhead just fine" in response, with nothing to
stop her. And Sam, who analyzed people's behavior for a living, would
never be able to let that one go. They were in for it now; no
putting this conversation off another day.
"Well, what's wrong, then? You've been acting strangely all
morning -- all week, really." She gestured toward the abandoned paper
by way of example. "I'd think you'd want to find a new place
as quickly as possible, get out of this," prison, she didn't
say, but Angel heard it in the tone of her voice, "fortress. Move on
with our lives, and -- move on." Again, words hovered between them,
unspoken but not unheard: and leave Jack behind.
"Do you know you never even asked me if I wanted to move back to
the farmhouse?" she asked abruptly, seemingly apropos of nothing.
Sam blinked, clearly taken aback. "No, I -- I just assumed that
you'd want to stay here. Your career's finally starting to take off,
you've made a lot of connections...and there are a lot more people willing
to spend money on original art here in a big city like Atlanta than there
are in a rural farming community...." She trailed off. "No. I'm
sorry. I should have asked; you're absolutely right. I'm sorry."
Angel felt a sudden sharp weakening of her defenses, and an upwelling
of pure affection; this demonstration that Sam understood her better than
anyone else on the planet, including her own mother, blindsided her. She
found herself questioning her decision. "It's all right," she
said, and touched the other woman's arm briefly to let her know she was
Sam smiled back at her -- a smile so sweet and happy that Angel nearly
burst into tears at the sight of it -- and relaxed into her chair once
again. "So...do you want to move back to your farm? That's a
little too far for me to commute, but I'm sure Bailey and I could work
And, just like that, the tension was back. "That's okay," she
said sharply. "I don't want to move back."
That blond head tilted in a familiar movement as Sam looked at her,
studying her with the full intensity of those penetrating eyes. Being the
object of that focused, intelligent gaze, feeling the power of it -- it
was almost frightening. Somehow, it was also unnervingly erotic and
arousing, too. Irritated with herself, Angel squashed both sensations
down; no time for them now.
But all Sam said was, "Okay. So -- Buckhead, then?"
And that was it. She'd had all of this conversation that she was going
to take; she couldn't stand it anymore. "I already found a new
place," she blurted, then grabbed her plate and scurried over to the
sink, pretending to wash it so she could avoid looking at her lover.
There was a stunned silence behind her. Then, "Talk about making
assumptions! Don't you think you should have at least mentioned it
to me first? And Chloe too; don't you think we all should be
involved in such a big decision? We'll be living there too, you
Angel's grip on the soapy plate tightened. "For me, a place
for me. My place." This time the silence felt confused,
not stunned; apparently, Sam still didn't get it. Turning around, she
enunciated clearly and precisely. "You won't be living there
too. I'm moving out. I need to be on my own for a while."
"Moving out." Her voice was utterly devoid of all expression;
Angel winced. The last time Sam had sounded like that was right after Tom
was killed. "You're leaving me."
"No!" The denial sprang instantly to her lips, leaving her
feeling rather silly -- because, when you got right down to it, that was exactly
what she was doing. But, for some reason, she persevered, saying,
"I'm not leaving. Not for good. I just need a little space
right now, okay? I'm not going far."
"Oh, stop it. Just -- stop it. I know a break-up when I see one.
You're moving out, you got a new place -- you don't even know where I'm
living yet, so how do you know you're not going far? You're dumping
"My god, you must have been planning this for -- forever! Just how
long have you wanted to get away from me? Was Jack all that was keeping
you here? As soon as it was safe, as soon as we caught him, you're out the
door! Is that it?"
"Yes!" The shout rang throughout the small kitchen.
"All right?! Yes. I couldn't leave while Jack was still out
there, I just couldn't do that to you. You needed me. I couldn't
abandon you like that."
"You don't seem to have any problem with it now," Sam
Angel sucked in a breath, surprised and hurt by the low blow. It was
out of character; Sam never fought dirty. She was almost
unreasonably fair, all the time -- it was simultaneously the best and
worst thing about arguing with her. So the comment stung painfully, but it
was also strangely flattering, in a dysfunctional kind of way. It must be
important, for Sam to fight so hard for it....
"But you don't need me anymore," she said softly.
"Jack's caught. He's behind bars -- you put him there!
You don't need me."
Sam exhaled sharply and ran her hands over her face, looking suddenly
tired. "Oh, Angel."
"And I really need some time to myself," she continued
doggedly, pretending she hadn't heard the hurt sadness in her friend's
voice, ignoring the implicit I'll always need you. "I need
some perspective. I need to--"
"To get away from me, is that it?"
"I am a human being in my own right, you know! Not everything
in my life revolves around you!"
Sam's jaw dropped in astonishment. "Well, of course not! Is
that...you think I...."
Before Sam got control of her stuttering tongue, Angel said, much more
gently, "I know. I know you don't think that. But --" She
stopped, unsure how to continue.
"But it feels that way lately. Like...my life doesn't
matter anymore, except in relation to you. Like I've been subsumed by you,
lost in you. I had to move, come live here, change my life around --
because of things that happened to you. Kidnapped to put pressure on
you...." The horror-stricken guilt on Sam's face reminded Angel of
why she had been so reluctant to begin this conversation in the first
place. "You stop that right now," she barked. "It's not your
fault. It's Jack's. Him and all the other psychos out there. Okay? They're
the ones who see people as things, as tools to be used -- not you. Got
After a moment, Sam nodded. "Got it," she said faintly.
"Good. Don't you forget it."
"All right. But -- you're still leaving, aren't you."
A beat. Then, "Yes. I am."
"Why? I think you owe me that, at least. Tell me why."
"Because...," Angel said slowly, articulating her reasons for
the first time. "I need...I need to be able to remember who I am when
I'm not in hiding. I need to re-learn how to live free. I need
"Can't you do that here with me?" Sam asked plaintively.
"I wish I could, I really do. But you're too tied up with this
mess in my mind. I can't think about you without thinking about it. Not
right now, anyway. Maybe later." She paused, then continued.
"I'm sorry. But I just can't be around you right now."
Sam breathed heavily for a few moments, before saying, "Well.
That's it then. You do what you have to do."
"Thank you." Her voice was tiny and weak, even to her own
ears. She knew this was right, she knew it was important for her sanity's
sake -- but, nevertheless, this was an argument that a rather substantial
part of her hadn't wanted to win.
Her hands hurt. She looked down and only then realized that she was
still tightly gripping the forgotten breakfast dish. She turned back to
the sink and put it down, deliberately, then picked up a glass from the
counter and started to scrub.
Behind her, she could hear Sam start to clear off the table. They
worked next to each other in silence for a while. Then Sam said, trying to
make a joke of it and failing miserably, "You know, when I said I
thought you wanted to move on, this isn't what I meant."
"I'm not moving on."
"No," she insisted. "I'm not putting our relationship
behind me. I'll come back." Someday.
"Moving out, then."
"I guess...but that doesn't sound right either. I'll still be
around. I'll still watch Chloe. We'll still be in each other's
"You're not moving out."
"And you're not moving on."
"So what are you doing, then?" she asked skeptically.
"I'm moving..." The word hung in the air, unresolved, while
Angel tried to decide how to finish. "I'm moving," she said
Sam put the orange juice back in the refrigerator, closed the door
firmly, then turned and met Angel's gaze. "I hope so. Because I,"
she said, very clearly and deliberately, "am not going
Angel looked at her for a moment, eyes wide. "Oh," she said.
"Oh." All right, Sam, she thought. I hear you. Message
received, loud and clear. She hesitated, wondering how to respond--
Then she turned and left the room, shutting the kitchen door behind
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